We took a trip to the Mekong River while we were in Ho Chi Minh City this past weekend to check out the floating market at Cai Be, on one of the river's tributaries. The vendors here sell their goods right off the sides of their boats, sometimes advertising what they're selling by hanging it from a tall pole. It was business as usual for the locals at the floating market, despite a few boatloads of tourists passing by.
The boats are not just tools of the trade for the vendors of the floating market; they also serve as their homes. They eat, sleep, do laundry, and conduct business from their boats. As you can see in the photo below, sometimes even the family pet lives on board. Right next to the potted garden.
The lady on the smaller boat sells drinks and coffee to people on other boats in the river.
A man doing laundry.
Produce hanging from tall poles on the boats to advertise what that particular vendor is selling.
In this case, I think those are sweet potatoes.
Here's a little video (only 72 seconds long!) I made with some footage Jeff recorded during our day at the river. You can see how colorful the boats and homes are and you can hear the sounds of the boats as they pass. My favorite part is the dude in the hammock on the back of his boat.